The annual Haworth festival has already established itself as festival of the highest standards and this year was to be no different with local legend Tony Wright (of Terrorvision Fame) and Milly Evans taking to the stage (Yorkshire stone floor) of the 50 capacity Cobbles and Clay Café on Haworth Main Street. This was an opportunity to see Tony Wright up close and personal and by the time he took to the stage (to massive cheers) and a cheeky bonjour (the EU referendum was the hot topic of conversation as we waited for Tony to appear) there was no room to move.
It was probably one of those gigs that you would hope for when seeing someone from a larger band in a small and intimidate setting such as this. It had everything you could want, it was part storytelling, part comedy and a large part very thoughtful and impassioned performance. If you are not familiar with Tony’s solo work I would recommend going and checking out his 2014 Thoughts ‘n’All. It’s a more complex and mature work than his Terrorvision days and what’s important to Tony (he happily reminds us, known for his short catchy choruses, throughout the show). It has a slight country feel and allows Tony to actually tell more of a story within each song but still being able to maintain a catchy chorus too. This is perhaps best demonstrated by the last song of the evening “Roll Over” where the crowd enthusiastically shouted the chorus along with him until he disappeared back upstairs in the Cobble and Clay Café.
For me, one of things that made this gig really special was the enthusiasm of the crowd. They laughed in the right places, cheered when prompted, sang and basically made the noise of two hundred, let alone fifty. If you already had his album you would have definitely have enjoyed the set. Most of the album got an airing throughout the evening: “Shallow Pool”, “Little Things” “Self Portrait”. There was a couple of new songs off the overdue new album which sounded great and were played with an enthusiasm and passion that gives me high hopes for it.
The way that Tony was able to engage with the small crowd was great, encouraging everyone to join in, such as asking the crowd to shout out the first pub they had their first drink in at one point, joking nobody ever shouted Weatherspoon’s at previous gigs. Our infamous “Gibbo” from Download soon put that to rights though. There were stories all night to accompany the songs. Tony told us of growing up in Bradford and going out for his first pints before singing “Great Horton”. This was the song that Mosh (Editor of Moshville Times) first introduced me to off the album as it namechecks a lot of the places that Mosh and myself frequented when we were students at Bradford University, including the Italia Café which I lived on the same street of for many a year. We also had tales of Tony’s son (who was manning the merch stall) and great interaction between Milly and himself.
And yes, he did play some Terrorvision songs. We had a cracking version of “Tequila”, an Impromptu “Perseverance” and an excellent “Alice, What’s the Matter”. These songs were accompanied by tales of how Terrorvision first got signed and how they met their manager. Overall this was a fantastic performance, in a great setting and crowd and if Tony is half as good as this on the Terrorvision tour this Autumn you are in for a very special night indeed.